If you are an audio enthusiast or professional, then most likely ultimate audio performance is high on your wish-list. Rest assured we are here to help. You probably arrived here at TDSS either because you became aware of our Upgrade and/or repair service on the Internet, or through a friend - It makes no difference, as we can probably help...
... So let’s get started.
Last things first: Let us share a little with you regarding our audio repairs service. We’ll make it short and sweet for you so as to not waste your time. Basically, if it is an audio product that isn’t burnt or damaged physically beyond reasonable recognition, we can most likely repair it…. with a couple of disclaimers as follows:
a) The correct replacement parts are available. As you may suspect, all tubes and transistors are not the same. You gotta have the right ones. If we can’t get them, then we can’t fix your defective product. End of story. We don’t have time and you probably can’t afford the cost of having us “experiment” to see if other parts will work, so in most cases we won’t even attempt to do so unless the part is very simple like a resistor, capacitor or maybe a diode. Other than those, we MUST have access to the correct replacement parts or we can’t help.
b) We can obtain service literature like a schematic diagram (pretty much a requirement) and (oh boy!) maybe if we are lucky… a service manual. In a lot of cases we can get by without a manual if we have a schematic, but without a manual the time required to figure everything out might well drive up the cost to where repair can’t be justified. So let’s keep our fingers crossed that we can get a manual of some kind.
c) You aren’t looking to go “cheap” on us. We can’t even take the time to look at a product and provide an estimate for less than a 1-hour minimum and our labor cost is $75.00 per hour. If it looks like the amount of time required to perform a repair is going to exceed 8 hours, then we may offer a discount just to help you out. We hate to see good gear end up in the landfill, but we do have a limit to our flexibility so please consider the above before contacting us.
Please keep in mind that the original manufacturer is most always your best resource for having your product serviced, especially if the item is still covered under warranty. If the item is large and the manufacturer is located a long distance away (like overseas) then maybe they would be willing to work with us even if the item is still under warranty. Then of course if the warranty has expired, maybe TDSS is a better option for the same reasons. If you are anywhere near the Midwestern USA, it might make more sense to send the item to us than to ship it all the way to California or wherever. The choice is yours, but if we can help we’d be more than happy to try. In the end, the main issue is almost always cost, so unless we're talking a fairly high-end item, it probably won’t be worthwhile to have it repaired in the first place. Again, you will have to weigh the cost vs. benefit and make your decision accordingly.
Our Custom Upgrades are likely to improve the sonic performance of most any audio product, but our area of greatest expertise is Class-D amplifiers and DACs. Those two items also represent products that are likely to yield the greatest levels of improvement as well. That’s because generally speaking, they suffer from the worst levels of noise contamination because they either generate it (Class-D amps) and/or they are more sensitive to such contamination (DACs).
Vacuum tube based products (Amps, Preamps, Guitar Amps, Compressor/Limiters, Mic Preamps, etc.) are particularly sensitive to internal and external EM contamination as well due to their higher impedance circuits, so they make good candidates for our Custom Upgrades too.
DISCLAIMER: All TDSS upgrades are non-refundable.
We figured that most folks would already understand the above due to the “custom” nature of the work involved, but just to be safe we’re letting you know right up front. So before you contact us please be sure that our upgrade is something that you want to invest in because there is no going back.
Finally, please don’t ask us to redesign your product. In their standard form, our Custom Upgrades are all “passive” by nature in that we do not change any active components (transistors, ICs, etc.). If you are interested in going beyond the treatments we typically employ in our Custom Upgrades and your requests are relatively “innocuous” in that we would only be changing passive components like coupling capacitors and resistors, etc. or maybe swapping out a socketed OPAMP in a preamp stage, then we will consider the possibility. Even then there is a limit in that the work we perform MUST end up looking neat and professional. So long as a given part will fit inside the chassis, can be mounted without looking like a middle school kid’s science project and can be connected to the circuitry without mucking-up the circuit board… then we will gladly consider your requests. Simple metalwork needed to install a different type of binding post or other connector is possible too, so long as major chassis reworking is not needed and the effort is likely to result in a job that looks neat and clean.
Our main concern is that we do not want to be engaged in tampering with crucial circuits that govern the product’s basic operation and/or stability. Anything within the feedback loop of a power amplifier is totally taboo, assuming the amp employs negative feedback. “Primum non nocere.” – The Hippocratic Oath – “First, do no harm.” Modern feedback topologies can be extremely complex, so only the fool treads there without having the same level of knowledge and data at their disposal as the engineers that designed the product.
You see, having had extensive experience ourselves in EXTRME high power Class-D/switching technology (40KW audio bandwidth amplifiers and tracking power supplies for the medical MRI industry), we have a healthy respect for the engineering behind today’s modern audio products. Without having access to the computer SPICE models and other Engineering data that went into developing a given product, we aren’t so arrogant as to think that we know better than the engineers that designed the thing. Playing “part swapping” games just to see if we can get lucky is for fools – especially when it comes to doing so with other folks’ property. We’ll leave that kind of amateurish garbage to all of the “hacks” out there that have just enough brains to be dangerous. Caveat Emptor.